The historic Borders town of Berwick-upon-Tweed is home to Britain’s second largest mute swan moulting colony. The Berwick Swan and Wildlife Trust was formed in 1992, following a major pollution incident in the River Tweed estuary, to provide support for the local swan herd as well as other wildlife in the area. (That was their logo on the right)
The website contained information about the famous Berwick swans, the mute swan species in general, and the varied work of the Trust’s dedicated army of volunteers. They hoped it encouraged others to join in continuing to help these magnificent birds and many other sick and injured animals.
This site was created in December 2000, till mid 2006. I have decided to repost some of the content that was previously posted on this site as it was pretty interesting… Below is a variety of things that I have found on wayback machine…
Since 1992 the Berwick Swan and Wildlife Trust has rescued, treated and released over 1000 swans, but countless other sick and injured animals have been brought to us from as far afield as Newcastle, Edinburgh, the Lothians, and the west of Scotland. All wild creatures deserve our help, and each one that is successfully treated and returned to the wild helps to maintain the rich variety of the natural world, and contributes to our own enjoyment of it.
Why the Trust Was Formed
The initial impetus behind the creation of the Trust was to provide support for the local Berwick swan herd. It was recognized that, being concentrated in one place, a single environmental catastrophe could prove very costly to a colony of this size. A major pollution incident in the Tweed estuary might, for example, affect not just the resident swan population but numerous visiting birds from other regions as well. It was therefore felt necessary to provide some form of safety-net in the event of an emergency.
It was an incident in the autumn of 1991 which led to the establishment of the Trust. A chemical spillage from a factory contaminated many of the swans, and only the swift action of a small band of volunteers under the direction of local vet David Rollo averted a disaster. Emergency facilities were set up and several hundred swans were captured, decontaminated and rehabilitated locally and at animal care centers before being returned to the river. In the event only a handful of swans were lost, but had it not been for the dedication of this small team the story would have been very different.
The sheer scale of this rescue operation highlighted the need for some form of permanent support for the swan herd, and more volunteers were recruited to help set up a Charitable Trust which would care not only for the swans but other wildlife both north and south of the border. The following May the Trust was formed and the public were invited to make donations or to join as paid-up members. The response was excellent, with 290 new members recruited in the first year, and offers of help from businesses and charities. Local businessman William Leith kindly gave permission for a large empty lobster shed on the quayside in Berwick to be used as a Rescue Center.
NWET Swan House
The Lobster Shed – unofficially christened ‘the Swan Hilton’ – was soon in use, and over the next seven years over 700 swans were treated there. It was, however, only a temporary solution, and in 1998 the council announced plans to demolish the building as part of a quayside development scheme. It was imperative that suitable new premises were found quickly, and in March 1998 the Trust launched an appeal to raise funds to buy a permanent treatment center in Berwick.
Donations flooded in, including a generous grant from Northumbrian Water Environmental Trust (NWET), which finally allowed the Berwick Swan and Wildlife Trust to complete the purchase of premises on the outskirts of the town.
The NWET Swan House was officially opened in April 1999 by Berwick MP Alan Beith. NWET’s generosity is also enabling the Trust to adapt and equip the building, plant trees and create ponds on the site, and build recovery sheds and aviaries. This website and a color booklet about the Trust’s work have also been sponsored by NWET.
Below I have posted some links which indicate wildlife tips, types of swans that were rescued, and more… Enjoy yourself.
The Swan is indeed a beautiful bird. The long neck, dazzling white plumage and orange bills make a statement about the bird’s beauty. They are also very friendly to humans. This is perhaps because they show very little fear for human beings. Humans and swans have co-existed peacefully over the years. This may be because humans treat them with great affection and respect.
I gained all the knowledge about swans at my place of work. I work for Berwick Swan and Wildlife trust. I must say that the experience I have had at Berwick is great. Helping these animals has turned to be my joy and reason for waking up every morning and going to work.
At Berwick Trust, we deal with swan rescue but we cannot ignore other animals and so we rescue so many types of animals that are in need of help. Some of these animals include; hedgehogs, seals, bats and fledglings.
Growing up, I owned a couple of pets that were left completely under my care when I joined junior school. This made me quite responsible. I had to feed them, clean them and clean after them every day. I had 2 dogs and a goldfish for my pets. It is from this that I developed close ties with animals. To this date, I still own a dog. I love animals and have a passion for them. Any way that I can help them would bring me happiness. This is why when I applied for a job at Berwick and got a chance I did not hesitate to take it. It is not only my job but also my passion to take care of animals.
There are pros and cons in working with animals. They include;
Healthy animals bring a balance to the eco system.
Helping injured animal’s helps in prolonging their life cycle.
Some animals are dangerous and may harm you by biting you. Some animals can be aggressive and attack you.
Animals can at times be difficult to deal with especially when you have to run after them to catch them in order to put them back to their cages or when feeding them.
The animals at Berwick Swan and Wildlife Trust are well taken care of. For starters, part of my job description is to feed some of the animals with the help of my other colleagues. The animals are fed with a healthy diet which is meant to help in their recovery. A healthy diet is important in an animal’s recovery. Providing this diet helps them recover faster and well.
My grandmother is the one who introduced me to Berwick. She did voluntary jobs at Berwick Trust every now and then. Initially I used to work in another city and when an opportunity arose to move closer home and work with animals, I did not hesitate to take it. My grandmother told me about the vacant position and I applied for it. It did not take long before I got the call for an interview and as they say the rest is history.
We shared the same passion for animals with my grandmother. I inherited her dog when she passed away. She had battled with breast cancer for 18 years and finally succumbed to it. She was an animal lover and I got that from her. At Berwick, she was involved in wildlife rescue which she did diligently. During her days at the center she was involved in the rescue of more than a hundred wild animals. She was a phenomenal woman and following in her footsteps makes me so proud to be her grandchild.
As much as working with animals is exciting for me, there are days when I can get exhausted because of running around. Animals at times can prove to be difficult and you will have to chase after them in order to feed them. Some of the days can be quite exhausting but because I love what I do, I find myself back to the trust the next day.
Looking back on my journey to where I am now, I would not have it any other way. Choosing to Work for Berwick is probably the best decision I could ever have made in my entire life.